Ex-ITP boss on trial for alleged Sunderland College fraud

Ex-ITP boss on trial for alleged Sunderland College fraud

The ex-chief executive of a training provider and her former colleagues are on trial for allegedly defrauding a college and private provider out of almost £460,000.

Joanne Mounter, aged 46, from Willington, Paula Bolan, 45, from Gateshead, and Kym Adrian Norman, 53, from Sunderland, stand accused of fraud by false representation against Sunderland College between July 2014 and December 2015.

The trial, which is expected to last two days, has been set for December 14.

It is alleged that the trio, who appeared before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on August 8, “dishonestly and intending thereby to make a gain for themselves or another” made representations to Sunderland College through invoices for a total of £304,858, “which was and which they knew was untrue”.

Ms Mounter and Ms Bolan are also accused of defrauding an independent training provider, Springboard Sunderland Trust.

They are alleged to have made representations to Springboard “through invoices presented, namely that a total of £154,674.01 was payable, which was and which they knew was untrue”.

As reported by the Sunderland Echo, it is understood the charges relate to their roles at Team Wearside, a training provider and charity based in Sunderland.

Ms Mounter was its chief executive, while Ms Bolan was quality and compliance manager, and Ms Norman was an assessor.

Team Wearside, a training charity, provides mainly apprenticeships and traineeships in a range of sectors including health and social care, and hospitality and catering.

According to Education and Skills Funding Agency figures, it had an apprenticeships and traineeships allocation worth £1.16 million in 2016/17, with an additional £99,000 for delivering adult education.

Team Wearside is also listed as a main provider on the register of apprenticeship training providers, and a subcontractor for both the lead providers that were allegedly defrauded, according to the ESFA’s most recent list of declared subcontractors.

That list, dated May 5, showed Team Wearside’s subcontract for Springboard Sunderland to be worth £182,000, while its subcontract for Sunderland College was worth a much smaller £29,146.

However, both confirmed this week that Team Wearside is no longer subcontracting for them.

Team Wearside declined to provide a comment for this article, stating that it “would be inappropriate to comment while the case is ongoing”.